Derrick White just knows how to win. The former Colorado Buffaloes star has played the past few months with the Austin Spurs, the San Antonio Spurs’ G League affiliate, and last night White led them to a 2-game sweep over the Raptors 905 in the G League Finals.
As you know, White came out of nowhere to star for Buffs. In his one season here, he led Colorado to the NIT while averaging 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. From one game to the next, White improved seemingly every day. That continual development saw him named to both First Team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defense. Despite his old age for a college senior (he was 22), NBA teams saw that he was skilled and athletic enough to play in the league, and he had enough untapped potential to develop into an NBA regular. It was surreal, but no surprise, when the San Antonio Spurs drafted White with the 29th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
White has only played 17 games with San Antonio, but mostly because he had injury issues and the Spurs’ rotation is hard enough to crack while healthy. So in typical White fashion, he spent the rest of the season under the radar working his ass off. The Spurs need White to develop into a dynamic playmaker and trusted leader, so he was given the reigns to run their G League affiliate, and he did not disappoint. In 24 games there, he averaged over 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, plus more than 1 block and 1 steal.
With White at the helm and playing as well as ever, the Austin Spurs rampaged through the G League Playoffs. In their first round game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets), White poured in 20. In the Western Conference finals (the second round) against the South Bay Lakers, White dominated with 35 points in a blowout win. Then in the Finals, White was the star of Game 1 as he again scored 35 points in a blowout. He had a quiet 9 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in their championship-clinching Game 2 win, but he was still a terror on defense as he picked up four steals and a block.
White’s dominance in the G League has shown the San Antonio Spurs that he deserves a rotation spot next season, especially if his development continues over the summer. At the very least, the championship-driven Spurs know they have a proven winner.